From his first tattoo at 18, gotten with his best friend to represent their shared love of a band, the art on David Mikula’s arms has been laden with personal meaning. Since then, each carefully chosen and designed element has added more to the story, ranging from memorials, homages to friends, beloved visual elements and more.
David Mikula is a non-traditional creative who started at W+K in June of 2009. Over the years, he’s lived in PDX, SF and NYC.
His best friend at 18 was a guy with the exact same birth date. To celebrate their entry into legal adulthood, the pair got matching heartagrams, in the same location.
Since then, David has been inspired to craft a life story through the art on his arm.
“The whole tattoo is made up of things things I love, which the Katamari prince is rolling up together,” David said. “Each represents a different part of myself.”
The skull is a nod to the fact that David has the same bone disease as shown in Unbreakable. Furthermore, his Dad had a skull tattoo, so it doubles as a reference to his ink.
The seagull, shrimp and Maine design comes from a shirt his other BFF Josh wears; although Josh isn’t from Maine himself, the t-shirt reminds David of him.
His best friend at W+K Adam Heathcott has a record label whose logo is a house; David made the vector art into a 3D shape for his tattoo.
The cat on his upper arm is a memorial to a beloved pet. “Misha didn’t have a long life, but she had a huge impact on me,” David said.
David also has a love of motion work and design, and his robot design is from Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
The I Am Legend logo, designed by David’s tattoo artist Justin Dion, is a tribute to his favorite book as a kid.
“I was 12 or 13 at the time, and I was never into vampire anything, because I was never inspired by the way people wrote about it,” David said. “The book is short, has direction and setup, and then with the twist, that said something to me: you can be one person your whole life, but your reflection outside of your circle can be totally different. Who you are, impacts the world. Thinking you’re surviving, while everyone else sees you as an epic myth.”
The nearby boat shoes are a reference to his love for boat shoes – simple as that. And several of David’s other tattoos represent his fondness for video games.
“Katamari Damacy got me into weirder shit, it’s so simple but it showed me that everything doesn’t have to look or play the same,” David said.
He also has tattoos of Pip Boy from the Fallout series, and Diddy Kong, because he was the Regional Donkey Kong Country Champion in 1995.
The man behind the ink: